Here’s a great question that came our way on Facebook, in case you’ve ever wondered the same thing: Why DO we shut down our lottery terminals in the middle of the night? (Answer: It’s for security and accounting purposes.)
If you’re not up late at night/early in the morning, you may never have noticed it, but every night, the Iowa Lottery terminals and self-checkers in about 2,400 retail locations statewide are shut down for a period of time. That’s for a few different reasons, chief among them security and accounting concerns.
Our lottery terminals close for business at midnight. They’re offline for about 30 minutes (sometimes a little longer) and then they come back up to start the next business day. Shutting down our equipment ends a particular day’s business cycle so we can total up sales, account for all lottery plays, and run maintenance and updates on the lottery terminals themselves. That work is an important part of the procedures we follow to ensure the security and integrity of lottery games.
In retail locations that aren’t open 24 hours, customers likely never notice the down time because the business is closed when it occurs. Staffers at the business just power up the lottery terminal when the location opens the next morning.
In businesses that are open 24 hours, customers and staff will see that the lottery terminal is offline for a little while each night. That’s been a standard procedure ever since the Iowa Lottery’s started back in 1985. The good news is that as computers have become more powerful through the years, the down time for our equipment each night has gotten much shorter. Years ago, lottery terminals were offline for a few hours each night, if not longer.
If you happen to be in a retail location when the lottery terminal is offline, please know that we’ll have things back up and running just as soon as we can. We know you want to play the lottery and we want to do business with you!